In A Farewell to Arms, does Lieutenant Henry really love Catherine?

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In Ernest Hemingway’s novel, Frederic Henry’s developing ability to love Catherine in particular—and any woman in general—is part of his maturing process. Frederic’s move away from reckless participation in the war initially helps move him toward the ability to develop an adult relationship. Although his injury plays a role in his decision to leave the fighting—the first phase of his “farewell to arms”—it also coincides with Catherine’s decision to come and care for him. Frederic begins to understand that women have courage and strength and are worthy of being treated honestly.

In the past, Frederic understood his egotistic, self-centered attitude as protecting him from entanglements. He did not believe that men could require the depth of emotional involvement that he associated with women. As he recovers from his injury, however, Frederic begins to have a fuller sense of his deeper needs. He is able to set aside his superficial desire to play with other people’s...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 24, 2020
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